LB Pet Grooming Business (LaunderPet) Offers Help But BP & Feds Spurn Volunteer Gulf-Oil Clean-Up Booms That Use Animal Fur (donated by pet groomers) and Human Hair (from hair salons) to Soak Up Oil

(May 26, 2010) -- Despite unsuccessful efforts (as of this morning) by BP to stop one of its undersea oil sites from spewing massive amounts of polluting petroleum into Gulf of Mexico waters (live video below), and amid complaints by gulf coast residents and local governments that federal response has (to date) been inadequate, BP and federal agencies are turning away offers of clean-up assistance from a northern CA non-profit group that's collecting pet fur (from pet groomers) and human hair (from hair salons) to fill booms that, the group says, can be used to soak up oil now fouling gulf coast waters and beaches.

Screen save from BP video link, May 26, 9 a.m.

To view live video of the undersea gusher, click here.

A businessman who operates LaunderPet -- three pet grooming and supplies stores (two in Long Beach, one in Seal Beach) -- now finds himself in the middle of this news story pitting corporate and government bureaucracies against grassroots volunteer efforts...and he is continuing to volunteer pet fur from his grooming shops for use in oil clean-up efforts.

Eric Hatch, President of LaunderPet (operates Belmont Pets & LaunderPet, 3429 E. Broadway; Bixby Knolls LaunderPet, 4102 Orange Ave in LB and Seal Beach LaunderPet, 318 Main St.) volunteered to take part in the hair/fur collection effort, organized by and The groups are collecting dog and cat hair clippings for shipping to warehouses where volunteers have created booms (by stuffing the hair/fur into nylon stockings that are doubled up and tied together.

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To view additional photos via's website, click here.

But a BP spokesman told on May 21 that while BP is very grateful for the offers, they have plenty of absorbent available which is effective and there are no plans at present to use the human hair/animal fur...and the oil spill's Unified Command (includes BP and multiple government agencies) has issued the following statement, basically turning aside the volunteer efforts:

The Unified Area Command for the Deepwater Horizon/BP Response announces it will not use hair boom in its response efforts.

While this suggestion was submitted to BP as an alternative method for containing and recovering the oil spill, it was not deemed feasible after a technical evaluation.

In a February 2010 side-by-side field test conducted during an oil spill in Texas, commercial sorbent boom absorbed more oil and much less water than hair boom, making it the better operational choice.

"Our priority when cleaning up an oil spill is to find the most efficient and expedient way to remove the oil from the affected area while causing no additional damage. One problem with the hair boom is that it became water-logged and sank within a short period of time," said Charlie Henry, NOAA’s Scientific Support Coordinator in Robert, La.

Commercial sorbent boom is readily available and scientifically designed and tested for oil containment and absorption on the water. Additionally, response teams are familiar with and properly trained to safely deploy, maintain, recover, and dispose commercial sorbent boom.

Individuals and organizations are asked to discontinue the collection of hair for the hair boom.

We appreciate the overwhelming response from the American and Canadian people who want to help in the response to this spill. Please continue to send suggestions for alternate cleanup solutions. All proposals are reviewed by technical experts for their feasibility and proof of application. Among those recommendations submitted was the successful subsea dispersion process that is now helping break up oil before it reaches the surface...

LaunderPet owner Hatch responds:

"Clearly, the right thing to do is to divert pet fur from landfills and use it in the massive gulf oil spill cleanup effort. We are hopeful and confident that the volunteers at Excess Access and Matter of Trust will soon convince BP and the federal government that the donated hair and fur booms can be used successfully to soak up oil in the gulf. Our three LaunderPet stores are happy to participate in this grassroots effort to assist in the cleanup."

For its part, the San Francisco-based non-profit Matter of Trust says it is continuing its fur/hair collection efforts. As of predawn May 26, the group states on its website:

(May 25) -- Matter of Trust is accepting hair, fur, fleece, feathers and nylons! Thousands of booms are being made all along the Gulf Coast by hundreds of volunteers. Supplies are ready to go to official government haz mat teams that have hazardous waste disposal plans in place. Matter of Trust is only giving out boom to official government haz mat teams. We are an environemental charity and would not risk oily boom being left out without proper disposal. BP Public Affairs has told us they have enough of their own boom. And Matter of Trust is now in contact with local parishes and counties in the Gulf states. The question is not whether the boom will ever get used, but if responsible parties will take all clean up materials now and pay for haz waste disposal so that cash strapped communities don't have to pay out of pocket. We will let everyone know as soon as officials take the hair boom.

Alpaca and llama farmers are sending in more fleece at their own expense! It's sheering season and as the textile industry has almost collapsed in the US, they would be burning most of this fleece anyway. If you want to help them with the delivery costs, please donate via our PayPal Fleece Booms option. All funds raised during specifically for this are going to be disbursed evenly to farmers in need of shipping assistance via the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America, Inc.

Riki Ott PhD, Marine Toxicologist, Author and Exxon Valdez Oil Spill expert - "The oil industry's approach is to use oil based synthetic products to respond to oil spills. After use, this results in mountains of contaminated material that need to be landfilled or incinerated. This creates a secondary polution problem. At least with hair booms and hair mats, natural material is used that breaks down faster and releases less toxins when incinerated or landfilled. They even have a chance at being composted with bacteria. To suggest that any possible shedding of natural fibers into the gulf are a problem, pales in comparison to methods using hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic industrial solvents. The benefits of removing oil waste with natural fibers largely outweighs the minimal immediate risk to the environment. Also they reduce the secondary polution concerns that come with using oil based products, such as only synthetic boom and dispersants."

To see demos of how fast the natural fibers work, we have provided YouTubes and will be doing a comparison of synthetic boom next to hair boom. We will show how they both work, float, and what they are made of so that any questions on the necessity of using both products can be evaluated by the public. Matter of Trust is purchasing 2000 hair mats, made in China, by

Richard Herbert has sent Matter of Trust his invention a hair boom floating cage. It can hold many hair booms aligned in rows. They can sit low and skim oil off the surface. Herbert's trap door invention for the containment boom prevents the oil from escaping and allows the hair boom to collect as much as possible. Fishermen in Louisiana are volunteering with Matter of Trust to make these this week...

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